By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor
It’s like that domino effect. Things start looking bright and new and shiny. One person does it, then everyone else wants to ‘ditto’ off of that.
– Dorothy Ballard
Michele Grim’s election to Ohio District 43 last week interrupted her short-lived tenure as Toledo City Council At-large. After only 11 months, her upcoming departure could set off a chain reaction, with the primary for district council seats set to take place in May.
Who replaces Grim?
Several people have indicated that Toledo City Council President Matt Cherry is trying to “maneuver himself” to take over Grim’s At-large seat. Cherry currently represents District Two but is term-limited and cannot run again in 2023.
The knock on Cherry is that, as the leader, he has not done an adequate job in fostering or developing relationships on city council. Instead, he is seen as “carrying the water” for Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz. Currently, the council and the mayor are not on speaking terms, and I don’t see either in a hurry to kiss and make up.
The dispute evolved from the mayor’s pressure (through Cherry) to fire city auditor John “Jake” Jaksetic, who works for city council.
“The mayor should have worked behind closed doors but instead acted like a spoiled kid who took his ball home,” according to critics.
Jaksetic’s style is described as “aggressive and in your face.” Still, he is “highly competent and wouldn’t have jumped out there without documentation and justification for his findings.”
Cherry’s efforts to suspend Jaksetic ignited an unsuccessful recall to remove him from his leadership position. So, it is likely that Cherry will also be successful as the successor to Grim’s At-large seat.
Who, then, replaces Cherry in District Two?
District Two has been a very red district for a long time but has recently begun to trend more purple. Yet, Harvey Savage, Jr. is a name I keep hearing take over should Cherry leave. Savage is executive director for the Martin Luther King Kitchen for the Poor and finished eighth in the 2021 Toledo City Council At-large race.
Other Potential Falling Dominoes?
The Party is licking its wounds with the unexpected loss of Vallie Bowman-English for Juvenile Court Judge and Erika White’s loss to Ohio House Speaker-elect Derek Merrin.
With all District council seats up for grabs in 2023, Party leaders will be looking for candidates who have a strong track record, can win, and retain their seats. In addition, the Democratic Party has always evaluated candidates on their potential to help other democrats get elected through fundraising and other grassroots activities.
Look for several emerging political hopefuls to challenge John Hobbs, III to lead District One. Judge Jack Puffenberger of Lucas County Probate Court appointed Hobbs to replace
Tyrone Riley in September 2020. However, many perceive Hobbs as vulnerable since this is his first campaign. Moreover, he confesses to still learning strategy and the political landscape.
Shaun Strong, who lost to Riley in the 2019 race for District One, is a likely contender for Hobbs in 2023.
Judge Puffenberger appointed Vanice Williams in 2020 to replace Yvonne Harper. Williams also has not previously run a political campaign. I expect political veterans and novices to come for Williams to supplant her in District Four.
Activist and former police officer Harold Mosley and Celeste Smith, a mental health professional, are both at the head of the line to attempt to unseat Williams.
Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, PhD, at firstname.lastname@example.org